McDonalds and HRD
McDonald’s is a leading global food service retailer, with more than 36,000 restaurants. It is Fortune 500 organization and it places a strong emphasis on people development. In 2005, David Fairhurst was appointed McDonald’s Vice President for People. One of his first priorities was to build the confidence and pride of the McDonald’s workforce. He gave particular emphasis to the development of employee skills and motivation to continuously provide excellent customer service. He set out a strategy consisting of three key elements:
• the development of employees by means of the provision of continuous learning opportunities, so that they can give effect to the McDonald’s employee value proposition;
• educating McDonald’s 72,000 workforce on its strategy;
• ensuring that all employees contributed to McDonald’s overall business performance.
The success of McDonald’s as an organization is built on the highest standards of quality, service and hygiene. The realization of these goals is contingent on well-trained front-line staff and middle managers in each store. McDonald’s recognizes that optimum customer service is contingent on front-line employees and their behaviors. Human resource development has a major role in realizing this goal. Human resource development is therefore accorded a particular high profile within McDonald’s. It operates an internal development process whereby employees are recruited and then trained as they progress through their careers. The centrality of internal development to the way in which McDonalds does business has resulted in major buy-in from stakeholders. McDonald’s supports this internal development philosophy through the implementation and support of qualification pathways and accreditation of learning.
There is a strong emphasis placed on employees taking strong ownership of their own career growth, and managers are held accountable for developing people and are expected to be highly competent developers. Career development is viewed as a continuous ongoing process of learning and development, and employees will be promoted where they demonstrate strong performance, investment in competitiveness, strong development potential, and alignment with the needs of the business.
To realize these important elements of philosophy and emphasis, McDonald’s has introduced a number of development initiatives, including:
• the introduction of a career map for operations that encourage breadth of experience;
• The articulation of a broader definition of ‘development’. Whereby both employees and managers take responsibility for development and are proactive in making career choices;
• Biannual talent reviews to ensure that local managers are accountable for the development and careers of their employees;
• The introduction of career planning and management workshops to help employees to develop ownership of their careers;
• The provision of resources, tools, and information to employees to help them to plan their own learning.
Human resources development functional activities are structured to ensure better alignment with business needs. There is an HRD operational team that is tasked with delivering the core learning curriculum. The corporate HRD function is tasked with the development and implementation of learning strategy, including delivering development to managers and employees. This team is also responsible for talent development interventions. The third component of the structure focuses on education, which manages qualification development and apprenticeships. Within each region, there are strong links with HRM and the HRD team reports to the HRM function.
At a global level, HRD is part of McDonald’s HRM operation function. Human resource development has embraced technology to deliver training solutions and emphasizes the importance of a blended learning strategy. There is a concern to measure the long-term impacts of what HRD contributes to the organization. This includes the correlation of HRD practices with turnover and business metrics, and investigation of the effectiveness of different HRD processes and practices.
Source: Bailey, C., Mankin, D., Kelliher, C. and Garavan, T. 2018. Strategic Human Resource Management. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, 202-204.


Question 1 (25 Marks)

Globalization is concerned with the growing internationalization of economic systems. It emphasizes the creation of a borderless global economy, facilitating the unhindered movement of finance, products, services, information and people.

Given that McDonalds already has a global footprint, elaborate on your understanding of the effects of the following human resource functions as they impact business:

i. Innovation and knowledge sharing
ii. Managing a diverse workforce
iii. Updating core competencies and skills
iv. Adaptable and flexible organizational structures
v. Development of global leaders with a seasoned global perspective

Question 2 (20 Marks)

With reference to the case study, investigate and discuss the human resource challenges that McDonalds might encounter in their attempt to assess employees’ potential to develop, accept ownership, and ‘take on new directions and responsibilities’

Question 3 (35 Marks)

Critically evaluate some of the most important challenges that multi-national organisations encounter in acquiring talent. (15 Marks)

Discuss the challenges posed by diversity and inclusion policies on talent management and the associated lessons that can be applied. (20 Marks)

Question 4 (20 Marks)

As organisations have adjusted to environmental influences, the roles played by HRD professionals have changed as well. Expand on the various roles and competencies that should be demonstrated by HR professionals and the expected outcomes/ outputs to be gained by the organisation from these roles.

Answers to Questions Above on Human Resource Development

Answer 1: Human resource management plays an important role in an organisation, but its role changes significantly in the event of globalisation of business activities. As in the case of McDonald’s, the company has its Global footprint, and human resource managers have to play an important role in the number of HR functional areas such as innovation and knowledge sharing, managing a diverse workforce and many others. The impact of innovation and knowledge sharing is evident in the case of McDonald in the sense that the HR manager has to frame the innovation and sharing strategies in a way that is customised as per the requirements in different markets where the company has its presence. This need for customisation indicates the impact of globalisation and HR functional areas therefore needs to be strategised accordingly.


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